The Hitcher by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Published by Arrow Books 100 pgs. 2018
Don’t pick up hitchhikers…EVER.
Late in 2017, when this book by film critic and writer, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, was announced by Arrow, most of the film (mostly uptight) nerds around the “internet” were posting their disappointment. Why? Because it was a “book” and not a Bluray of THE HITCHER. I, myself, was all giddy with anticipation since it was a new book by one of my favorite film writers of all time!
I personally have only seen THE HITCHER from 1986 once and that was in the VHS days. I do own the DVD of it and it is more than likely it will not see a BluRay release unless HBO puts it out as they hold the rights to it (and I am sure there is more to it than that). So in cases like these, I look to people like Alex to throw down some knowledge to make me understand why a film like this is important to see.
In her personal style, the “book” is assembled much like the last I read of hers, the one on Able Ferrara’s 1981 film, Ms. 45. It opens with pre-production on the film and references to older films, in this case, ones that deal with hitchhiking as a plot device. The middle section is her breakdown and observations on themes of THE HITCHER, going deep on the character’s motivations. The 3rd part deals with the film’s completion, the theatrical/critical response, the sequel and remake and other notes. The book also has stills and posters from the film, blown up to fill the page. I have read many articles on the film over the years and the writer of this book brings out tidbits I never heard before.
Alexandra Heller-Nicholas has put together a very well researched book. It doesn’t talk down to you like some film books. She drops the paragraphs easy to read but giving you plenty to consider about this film. It’s also kept clean with no footnotes (the references are in the back pages for further perusal) and Arrow did a nice concise layout. It’s a small book, yes, but books like these are important and I’m glad Arrow gave it a shot. Alex’s writing is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to the next tome with her name on it!